Manipur video: SC asks CBI not to proceed with recording statements of womentext_fields
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) not to proceed with recording the statements of women in the video being paraded naked in Manipur as it is scheduled to hear a batch of petitions on the issue at 2 pm.
A bench headed by Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud took note of submissions by lawyer Nizam Pasha, appearing for the women, that the CBI has asked them to depose on Tuesday.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, appearing for the Centre and the Manipur government, said he was not aware of it.
"Just ask them (CBI officials) to wait. We are going to take it at 2 pm today," said the bench which also comprised Justice J B Pardiwala and Justice Manoj Misra.
"I will convey this... If we had not done anything Mr (Kapil) Sibal (the counsel for the women) would accuse us of inaction," the law officer said.
Mehta said he will ask the CBI officials to refrain from recording the statements and it might have been done in "good faith".
The top court is scheduled to hear at 2 pm a batch of pleas related to ethnic violence in Manipur and may pass an order setting up a committee of retired judges or an SIT to oversee the probe.
On Monday, it described as "horrendous" the video of two women being paraded naked in Manipur amid reports that the police handed them over to the rioting mob. It asked searching questions about the delayed registration of the FIR and mooted the idea of setting up a committee of retired judges or an SIT to oversee the probe.
Describing the violence perpetrated against women in strife-torn Manipur as one of "unprecedented magnitude", the top court refused to consider submissions of lawyer and BJP leader Bansuri Swaraj that similar alleged incidents in opposition-ruled states like West Bengal, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Kerala be also taken note of.
Seeking a report about the action taken by the state in around 6,000 cases related to the ethnic conflict, the bench said Manipur police cannot be allowed to continue with its probe in view of the news reports that it was police personnel who handed over the women to the mob.
The bench sought to know why the state police took 14 days to register an FIR.
On July 27, the Centre informed the top court that it has transferred to the CBI the probe in the case related to the two women who were paraded naked, asserting the government has "zero tolerance towards any crimes against women".
The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), in an affidavit filed through its Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla, also urged the top court to transfer the trial outside Manipur for the conclusion of the trial in a time-bound manner. Seven people have been arrested in the case so far.
The affidavit said the central government believed that the investigation should be completed at the earliest and the trial be also conducted in a time-bound manner "which must take place outside Manipur".
Scores of people have been killed and several hundred injured since ethnic violence broke out in the state on May 3 when a 'Tribal Solidarity March' was organised in the hill districts to protest against the majority Meitei community's demand for Scheduled Tribe status.
With inputs from PTI